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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  March 17, 2013 5:00pm-6:00pm EDT

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district of columbia. .. >> to push this movement forward for what they called retrocession which was alexandria leaving the district of columbia. so slavery played a role as the predominant business and a key role in why alexandria wanted the leave the district of columbia. we're standing now at the dueling ground in north
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arlington. this is where the duel happened between secretary of state henry clay and virginia senator john randolph. this is a little-known duel. i had actually never heard of this duel until i started researching the history for the book. but these are two titans of american politics. the modern day equivalent would be secretary of state john kerry versus virginia senator mark warner. so they arrived here on the day of the duel after randolph had given a speech calling clay -- they were handed weapons, they shot at each other, both sides missed. they were handed new weapons, they shot at each other and missed again, and so they came together and randolph said to clay you owe me a new coat, mr. clay, because the bullet had pierced his coat. so clay said to randolph, well, i'm glad the debt is not greater. right now we are at jones point. we're standing on top of the
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southernmost tip of the district of columbia here. and this is the boundary marker that was laid in 1791 when the federal government was creating the district of columbia. when you look at a map of the district of columbia, it looks like a diamond shape. but if you look at a modern map of d.c., it looks like moths have eaten the southern half of it. that's because the virginia part of the original district was retroceded back to virginia. this point is very significant because it was the original boundary marker of -- there were a number of boundary markers that were laid all around this area to point out the diamond shape, the actual boundaries of the district. but this was the first. and it was also there was a lot of ceremony that was involved in the placement of this stone in 1791 when it was placed here. so the significance, actually, it's a long story that dates back to 1784, right at the end
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of the american revolution. the congress was debating how they should have a a capitalty and whether or not they should create a district. a guy by the name of elbridge gerry who we know from gerrymandering, suggested that a district be created, a federal district. gerry suggested two possibilities. one was trenton, new jersey, and the other was georgetown, maryland. and so the congress debated it and eventually chose trenton. and then they kind of backtracked a little pit and approved funding for georgetown and trenton. the idea was that they would actually move in different times of the year. they would be in trenton part of the year, then in georgetown another part of the year. virginians were really willing to go to great lengths to make sure that the capital was placed here on the potomac. and one of the people that played a key role in this is a guy whose name has been kind of lost to history, but it's a man by the name of david stewart. this was a friend of
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washington's, he was actually related to washington, a business partner of washington. interestingly enough, david stewart actually laid the cornerstone here in that 1791 masonic ritual. the infamous come compromise of0 sealed the deal. after the revolutionary war, there was a whole lot of debt that had been taken on by the various states. and there was a, the politics of this was that the southern states had largely paid off their debt, but the northern states had not. to alexander hamilton wanted the federal government to assume these debts. james madison was against that, but madison and the virginians wanted the capital on the photo photo -- potomac river. so there was a famous dinner held at monticello where thomas jefferson invited james madison and alexander hamilton, and over dinner they struck the compromise of 1790 which was that the federal government
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would assume the debts, the wartime debts from the revolutionary war, in exchange for the capital being placed right here on the potomac river. so the compromise of 1790 was actually the key deciding factor in creating the district of columbia. they came here to this spot we're standing on now and had a masonic ritual. this is the masons had their aprons and the trowels and corn oil, and they gave some speeches right here on this spot and did the ceremonial laying of the southernmost boundary marker, which is what we're standing over now. and that was how the district was createed. >> for more information on booktv's recent visit to alexandria, virginia, and the many other cities visited by our local content vehicles, go to c-span.org/localcontent. >> booktv airs every weekend on c-span2 for 48 hours.
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next, phil lapsley presents a history of the phone system and a flaw in its operation that allowed hackers or phone freaks to make free long distance phone calls through the use of a blue box, a device that mimicked tones used by at&t, the use and distribution of blue boxes was heralded by phone freaks including steve wozniak and steve jobs who built and sold the device cans. this is about 45 minutes. [applause] >> thank you very much. i'm always somewhat befuddled by readings because i know many of you, and i know that -- of those of you who i know, i know you're smart people. those of you i don't know i hope to know better after the end of tonight. and you're all capable, i imagine, of reading the book on your own. however, they took away my powerpoint projector, so reading is what your going to get -- you're going to get tonight.
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and in terms of the schedule, what we're going to do is i'm going to read, i'm going to talk a little bit about the book and read for maybe 20, 30 minutes, then we'll have questions, then i'll do signings for those of you who want signed books, and then we will head to gott's roadside just down the for ri building from here, and we can have beer, wine, milk shakes, hamburgers, whatever. so there'll be a group doing that afterwards. please, join us if you'd like. so my book is about phone freak, and if you were a phone freak, that's great and that's all you need to know, but not everybody here was a phone freak, so a few words of explanation. if you go back to the 1930s or the 1940s, the telephone system was an intensely manual thing, right? you probably see from old movies operates plugging in cords into jacks, and that was how calls got made, and that worked pretty
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well for the volume of calls they had at the time. the telephone company employed about 100,000 women -- and they were always women because it was inconceivable that an operator could be a man during those days -- they had about 100,000 of these people. they had run the numbers, and they knew how popular the telephone was and how popular it was going to be, and they figured by 1965 they would need a million operators. the first problem with that, there aren't a million women in the work force in 1965 so, you know, we're screwed. what are we going to do at that point? the second problem is the cost of paying them would just be heart stopping. so what to do? the answer, remarkably, turned out to be automation. what the phone company did was they built these amazing machines that allowed people to dial their own long distance calls. this was a huge challenge. imagine building a machine that can somehow automatically figure out how to get a call, say, from
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miami, florida, to san francisco, california, and talk to the intermediate machines, switching machines that needs to be able to do this all on its own, automatically bill for the calls, it needs to do everything, right, to put the call through. except manage imagine building that machine in 1930 or 1940 when the transistor hasn't been invented, the computer hasn't been invented. didn't exist back then. what blew me away, and i didn't realize this when i first started working on the book was bell laboratories got right to work on this problem, and they solved it using what mr. spock of star trek would describe as napkins. they had metal cards with holes punch inside it. again, they didn't have computer, they had relays and vacuum tubes, but they built this astonishing network that allowed you to dial your own calls. that was, you know, hundreds of these machines, and that was from, say, 1950 to about 1980.
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they were, at the time, they formed the largest machine in the world. and so that's what the telephone network had become. it had gone from this manual thing to this amazing machine. but it was around 1955, 1960 that the telephone network started attracting some kind of unwanted attention. it was attention mostly from teenagers, some of them were blind who started looking at the network and really just started becoming interested in it, starting to play with it. what they had discovered was that there was some, what an engineer today would call vulnerabilities in the network. in particular the entire network was controlled by tones, so the way these machines communicated with each other was just by tones, by these little -- they were like touch tone, and then there was a master tone, 2600 hertz which if you're a musician is seventh octave e.
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that indicated whether the trunk lines were idle, whether someone had answered the phone or not. so these machines are playing tones to one another. the problem was that if you made a long distance call -- so, for example, take the rotary phone on the front of the book in the 1960s or 1970s, you'd dial a long distance call, and right after you were done dialing you'd hear these little tones in the background which sounded like -- ♪ and if you have a certain kind of brain which i know some of you do, you hear those tones, and you wonder what are those? how does that work? and if i can hear the machines making those tone, then maybe the machines can hear me if i make those tones. and it turns out you could. and so if you had, if you were good at electronics, you could make something called a blue box, and this was one from 1975 just about, and it's a little tone generator.
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it makes tones kind of similar to touch tones. it makes the 2600 hertz noise, and it also makes these tones that sound like touch tones but aren't. and with something like this, you could control the long distance network. what does that mean? it means that you could, number one, make free phone calls. but, number two, sort of more interesting you could route your calls manually from one place to another. so say you want to call the phone next to you. well, you just dial the phone number. but what if you want to do something more challenging? you route your call, say, through anchorage, alaska, and then from poughkeepsie to portland, and you could stack up this routeing of calls just for the sake of doing it, just because it was an interesting thing to do because at the you got to say hello at one phone and listen half a second later while you heard your voice on the other phone. in some cases you could even wiretap people using this
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technology, so you could actually use these blue boxes to wiretap a call in process. now fortunately for the phone company, not everybody is an electronics genius in 1960 or 1970, and so not everybody can make a blue box. unfortunately for the phone company, the quaker oats company provided something called the captain crunch bow sun whistle and boxes of cereal. it's just a little plastic whistle, and it turns out if you cover up one of the holes and blow, you get that 2600 hertz tone. and so if you had one of these whistles, you could then make free phone calls. [laughter] so the phone freaks were the people who figured this stuff out. and it turns out, and you can read more about this in the book, there were, there were the phone freaks who were just in this for curiosity, there were the phone freaks who were in this because, you know, they wanted to call each other, there were the people in the organized crime, bookmakers in the mob who wanted to use this to avoid prosecution by the feds, there
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were the yippees who wanted to stick it to the united states government because they said, well, the phone company collects long distance toll taxes, so it's a 10% tax on every long distance call, so if we teach people to make free phone call, we're dei have pry -- depriving the government of money to send people off to die in vietnam. so all these different groups that wanted to use this technology. but the one that i really focus on -- i touch on all of these in the book, but the one it turns out to be about is curiosity, about the curious teenagerrings. my book is about people being playful, about being curious, about asking questions like, you know, what happens if i do this? if i can hear these tone, what if the machines can hear me? what happens if i dial this number that's not in the phone wook? what if just permeates my book. and i'd like to share two stories on this theme. one of them is about a blind kid named joan who was -- well,
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instead of introducing him, let me just read about joe. hang up the phone and leave it alone. joe was about 4 years old when his mother first shouted that phrase at him. it was a shout he would hear again and again as he grew up. his mother could be forgiven for raising her voice. she tried to be support i, she really did, but sometimes her son's obsession with telephone s just a little much for her. joe soon turned the phrase into a little song, one he would sing over and over again to himself in a quiet, littling voice. ♪ hang up the phone and leave it alone, hang up the phone and leave it alone. >> joe was born in 1949, his given name was joseph carl, buzz hi family called him jo jo. his mom, esther, stayed home and took care of he and his sister. his dad was a high school yearbook photographer.
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they lived in small but serviceable apartment in richmond, virginia. they had a car, they had a dog. in many ways they appeared to be a stereotypical postwar baby boom family. but as we know, appearances can be deceiving. first there was the blindness. joe was born blind as was his sister. the doctors didn't know what caused it for either of them. it cannot have been an easy thing for ether and joe sr. having blind children. having two blind kids is much harder, the sort of harder that makes for stress, for anger, for fighting. i won't lie to you, says toni, the parents fought a lot. then there was the incan december sense of little joe's mind. jo jo would pester the adult toss read allowed to them. before long he wanted them to tell him how the words were spelled. soon after that he wanted the adults just to read the letters the to him. he would piece the letters together and form them into sentences handling the work of reading himself. quote: before i was 4, i knew
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how to be read to with people spelling the words, he said, so when i knew braille, i already knew how to read and learned in only a month or two. jo jo didn't have much use for play time. quote: i didn't like play, he said. i told the kindergarten teacher, play stinks. i wanted people to read to me by spelling the words. then there were the obsessions, many, many obsessions. young joseph was famous for them. shower curtains were one. he loved the sound that a plastic shower curtain made as it swished back and forth on itself. jell-o was another. jo jo constantly asked his mom to make a pot of jell-o saying repeatedly, when is it going to gel? then there was the fascination with brassieres. his sister recalls it was all i could do to keep him from going outside with mother's bra wrapped around his head. the greatest obsession was the telephone, starting around the same time as he learned to read. quote, i used to ask what time it was all the time, so mother started dialing it on the phone. it entranced me how i could hear
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another voice like that. the phone company used to offer a free number you could dial. in joe's area it was 737. they stuck pieces of tape on the 7 and the 3. joe could run his fingers over the dial, seeking the roughness of the bits of tape. with this joe could dial the time himself. joe would dial 737 constantly just to listen to the voice. one day joe noticed that the 3 was three holes away from the dial stop and the 7 was seven holes away. i thought, well, if 3 is three away and 7 is seven away, maybe 2 is two away and all that. joe dialed away at random. he heard a ring l signal. a woman's voice answered. i asked is this 439-011, she said, yes, and what do you want? he said, oh, boy, i just learned how to dial. [laughter] play in the world of the telephone was fantastic.
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the phone had interesting things to listen to. it even had people who would talk to him. it was more than playground, it was a laboratory, a place where a little kid could try things out and where he could conduct as many experiments as he wanted. it was a world of possibility, a world prefaced with that most intoxicating of words, "if." quote: the way i learned thousand dial sort of characterizes the way i've learned about telephone systems all my life, he said later. you make a theory, you think something, then you try it out. he'd perform an experiment. had that not worked, i would have had to either make another theory or see if something else worked. not simply trial and error, guided trial and error. the adults had a name for this, they called it the scientific method. years later, nobel prize-winning physicist richard feinman would write the principle of science, the definition almost, is the following, the test of all knowledge as experiment.
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so jo jo went on to become the centerpiece of a network of phone freaks that formed in the late 1960s, um, and the way they formed is kind of interesting. jo jo had gotten, had figured out how to whistle free long distance calls just with his lips. he was good at that, and so he made a bet with somebody in college, and a dollar was wagered, and he won the bet. they got a long distance call out of it. pretty soon crowds of people were following him around his college campus in florida, you know, getting him to whistle calls for them. it wasn't very much longer after this that he ran afoul of at&t's security and the police, and this was in 1969. he almost got kicked off of campus for this, but they managed to leave him be. but the news coverage that ensued from this became a focal point. so you can just imagine how it borks, right? you're a, you know, 15-year-old kid who's interested in this phone stuff in 1969, you're probably the only one that you
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know of, and then somebody, maybe a well-meaning parent or a friend, hands you a copy of the newspaper and says, hey, read this article about this kid in florida who can whistle free calls, right? thinking you're going to find it interesting. but of course what you do is go, huh, i'm going to call him. pretty soon you have in this network of phone freaks forming. jo jo wasn't the first. other kids had been doing this since the late 1950s, early 1960s. and what i'd like to do now is actually have another curious kid who was a sophomore at harvard in 1967, um, do the intro to this. >> '56-'57 was when it all started. my sophomore slump. as i say -- [inaudible] school wasn't an option.
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so i -- [inaudible] , you know, and i noticed that the school newspaper was running an ad in the classified section. and there was -- [inaudible] that had the header, "wanted fine arts 13," and then the text of the ad. it was something like -- [inaudible] >> st. louis, missouri. it ran every day for a couple weeks -- >> so i'm going to pick up now from where jake locke, the guy who was just narrating that, has
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just gotten a letter. locke showed the the letter to everyone he saw that day, but nobody could read it. later that evening as locke sat at the kitchen table in his dorm room and stared at the letter trying to puzzle it out, one of his roommates came home. shocked that locke might actually be doing something that looked like homework, his roommate asked what he was working on. his roommate took one look at it and said it looks like russians. locke said, that's what i thought, but the characters don't seem right. yeah, they're not. in fact, his roommate's voice trailed off for a moment, in fact, they're mirror writing. what? you know, they're mirror writing. the letters are written backwards, see? locke looked. sure enough, backwards. locke and his roommate went to the mirror and transcribed the letters. they sat back down at the letter and translated it. dear jake, thank you very much for your reply. however, i seriously doubt that
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you have what i need. i would strongly advise you to keep to yourself and not interfere. this is serious business, and you could get into trouble. locke sat back. someone had put a cryptic ad in the newspaper. he'd responded. they'd sent a letter in mirror writing in russian in 1967 during the cold war. spy ring. it just didn't get much cooler than this, locke figured. intriguing, terrifying even, but far, far better than going to class. locke mailed his reply that day in english, not in mirror writing. dear b. david, actually, i do have your notebook, and i'd like to talk to you. sincerely, jake. four days went by before he received an odd letter, folded in half and taped at the type. the fold line could be torn in half, the writing was in english this time. dear jake, if you have the information i need, you should be able to complete the other half of this card and mail it back to me, then we can continue
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our discussions. sincerely, b. david. locke looked at the other half of the postcard. it had a handful of questions on it. complete the following sequence. 604, 234, 121, blank. what does mf stand for? what equipments were the students at harvard and mit using? locke spent every waking hour over the next several days working on the questions. the numbers repeated over and over in his mind. 604, 234, 121. 604, 234, 1212? a phone number? it wasn't directory assistance. locke knew that would have been 55-1212. but it somehow sounded right. worth a shot. he picked up the phone and dialed. a woman's businesslike voice answered on the first ring. cleanerrer clean, she said. >> excuse me? >> cleaner clean inward, the
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woman repeated more distinctly this time. locke hung up. he stared at the phone. cleaner clean inward? where was area code 604 anyway? the phonebook said british columbia. and where was that? western canada. locke looked around his dorm room, flipped to the page on british columbia. the big cities had names he recognized, names like vancouver and prince george. the smaller towns had less familiar names, named like -- [inaudible] at dinner that night locke mentioned his phone call to steve, another of his roommates. steve said, huh, that's interesting, my girlfriend susie's an inward. what's an inward, asked locke? it's some type of a telephone operator. give her a call. locke did. susie explained an inward is an operator's operate. when an operate needs
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assistance, she calls the inward operator for the destination city. so how do i call an inward, locke asked her? you can't, she said. inwards have special phone numbers that only operators can dial. if you wanted to call the new york inward, you'd have to dial something like 212-049-121. you can't dial those numbers from a regular phone. locke explained that he seemed to have called a way to dial an inward operator. well, susie said, i'm mystified. you shouldn't be able to. i don't know, maybe you found a glitch. but here's how you can tell. ask them to complete a call to somebody. if they're really an inward, they'll be able to do it no problem. i don't know anybody in canada, locke said. that's okay. an inward can call anywhere, and we sometimes get calls from the test board with the phone company asking us to complete calls for testing purposes. just tell them you're with the
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test board. act like you know what you doing, and they won't give you any trouble. hey, any idea what mf might stand for? well, it could be multifrequency. what's that? it's the system that operators use to make calls, it's kind of like those touch tones used for push button dialing. okay, thanks, susie. they said good-bye, he hung up. locke dialed 604-234-1212. once again the female voice answered. hi, yes, locke said, this is the test board, could you connect me to -- [inaudible] one moment. there was a pause. the long distance his got louder. a click, another pause, more hiss, another click, then a ringing signal. hello? it was his friend dave in sand n diego. locke chatted with his friend for a few minutes and then hung up. it seemed magical.
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act like you know what you're doing, and they won't give you any trouble. it worked. [laughter] so locke had actually, it turns out, rediscovered a bunch of work that students at harvard and mit had done in 1961, and the book goes into lots of tasty detail about that. but i'd like to tie this all back to curiosity. um, as some of you may know, some better than others, i got into a little bit of trouble for this phone freaking stuff back in junior high and high school. and it was curiosity that led me into it. i got out of it sometime afterwards, but i was -- as i went on and, you know, went on to get an engineering degree and become an engineer and do stuff later in life, i was always curious about this. where did this stuff come from? where did the idea of phone freaking come from? i got into it in 1978, well after jake locke and there were people involved ten years earlier than that.
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i just wanted to know, i was curious, you know, when had this started? who started? it why did they start it? what were their motivations? i was, um, in 2006, actually, i was browsing a wikipedia article on phone freaking. and, by the way, i think that so many disasters start off with the braise i was browse -- phrase i was browsing wikipedia. [laughter] so i looked at this article, and i thought, well, you know, half of the stuff that's here i know is wrong, and the other half might be right, but there's no citations to it, so who knows? and that was my trip down the rabbit hole. i was very, very lucky to have a generous grant from my wife, rachel rusting -- [laughter] who's here in the back of the room, who supported me for several years. ..
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what do folks at at&t due to the long-distance network in the tools to work with and problems they are facing was just incredible and i reflect a little bit of that in the book. the other thing though was the extent to which the early phone freaks want to make this stuff work. and i talk about this in the book. kids listen to the phone, able to do these times. they don't have google at their
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fingertips if they can't find details at this stuff, but they've got their wits and their clever people and worked really hard and basically reverse engineer the system. you have with the engineers and reverse engineers, both doing astonishing work. in the end, the thing that struck me most about was simply the curiosity of the people doing this is reflected in my curiosity, trying to learn about them now. so that's what i have to read to you tonight. i'd be delighted to take questions if you have any. >> what do i think a 2600 magazine? well, let me remind not just a site. 2600 magazine started in 1984 but the hacker quarterly now. before 2600, there is actually a song freak magazine called gibco which later became the must-have
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which published an 71 to 84 and asserted the successor in a lot of ways. as a 2600 a lot. i like the curiosity and bodies. the problem that comes up with curiosity is curiosity isn't a crime. crime is a crime. the problem is curiosity often leads people to do illegal things. sex, money, drugs, turns her curiosity is one of those things, too. that's the thing is struggled as i was writing this book and also reading something like 2600 now. the curiosity is awesome when it's at beginning and therefore you should break into the computer, trash somebody's bios, that party don't like. from a curiosity to alone, i love stuff like that.
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>> how did you arrive at the title click >> the titles. this is a long story and it's not a good story, so it could be the short version of it. we originally were going to call the phone freaks. originally we were going to call the freaks. my friend jennifer's freaks would be a great title. [laughter] they look at this and said this is not going to sell. without the book and it's not going to so with the title of phone freaks. so we had essentially weakened to come up with a new title. the great news is it the perfect cover image to go with it, which is the editor found on the web a fantastic graphic arts someone had done lovingly. they took an old 500 series rotary phone and disassembled to
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component pieces, photographed each individually and then reassembled as the next is a diagram like in shop class. you had all these pieces find out. who came up with it but my wife. who will call it exploding the phone because that's what these guys did. they tore it apart and reassembled in a way bigger than itself. we all looked at that and said yeah, that's great. that's what we'll call it. the publisher late. two years later i had a massive buyer's remorse. but then i came around to m.i.t. the publisher called and said we can't get the image. silhouette back and forth in indiana but we came up with is, which i'm very happy with. that's how we got to the phone. in the end, it would have been a good title, which would have
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been kind of cool. i'm really happy with "exploding the phone." >> is it available on the web? >> you can google it. [inaudible] say they can. it is not referenced in the book. that's correct. i was really impressed with the historical research you did. i'm curious, how did she take up the information about the phone freaks and how did she learn about project green star? i really interesting. >> the historical research was in a lot of ways the part i enjoyed the most and that was that people were afraid he was never going to get done because they enjoyed that more than writing. the problem with curiosity is it 10 months.
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i interviewed more than 100 people, both on the phone company site in the phone freaks i and the fbi agent site and all of that. i also filed a little more than 400 freedom of information act request. it got to the point of sending holiday cards to the departments of different agencies. in terms of one of the things they learned was these things move at their own pace. i talk about this in sources and is part of the book. talking to some song freak and i asked him a question. he said he got to talk to john. sure, or cell type to john. who's john quakes a student at berkeley in 1972 or 74. the song of the last name? i don't know. great. a year and half later my phone rang and it's some guy in a site
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i was a student at berkeley pier just wanted to check in with you. creature writing this book. so you know, things like that you can't force. there's no way a note to speed the reaction of, so you have to be patient. you mentioned green star. from 1964 to 1970 with at&t realistic problem i'm a developed green start, basically a total fraud surveillance network to keep track of the phone system and review statistical sampling to see how many fraudulent calls are going on here. what was interesting about that with a dirty, then the price, so as far as at&t was concerned, it wasn't like this is a secret. so when i talk to the direct your searching for bell labs, he's like you want to find out about the green start date and give me names of people to talk
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to in the people were quite forthcoming about it. so it was one of those things where it was a secret in plain sight. it was on the front page in 1975 and then people forgot about it. other questions? >> sure. how i got my publisher. this is an inspirational tale. i'm the luckiest person in the world not just because they're married to rachel, but also because i managed to get a publisher to complete luck. i have been working on this book for several years in the league at a publisher is ready but her postal and some sample chapters in the semis to an agent and the agent shops or on your proposal and since the publisher.
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i had written a proposal. i had some sample terry's and they were sitting around gathering dust on my hard drive because i was too afraid to send them to anybody they wouldn't like them and i'd be rejected and that would be terrible in the end of it. my wife and i made a spousal deal. i'm a big aficionado of earning end. i've gone for many years now. the deal i cut was i could go to burning man in 2010 if i was simply some of the postal to an agent or a publisher. it is even have to be accepted. this is the lowest possible bar imaginable of somebody gets up the hard drive and in the u.s. mail. so it's now august 1st, 2010 and i couldn't do it. i looked at him like this is a piece of garbage. no it's going to want to publish this. et cetera, et cetera. a week later i got an e-mail
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from gina senate or the frantic scene i'm an editor. i understand you're writing a book on the history phone. which you have some sample chapters you could send to me? i said why yes they would. how did you get my name? he said i was reading summers echoed magazine content from "esquire" magazine which had an article about phone freaks. he said i thought that was totally fascinating and i went to google about some of the characters. he said it found the obituary for one of the characters in "the new york times." the quoted so lapsley and said i looked and you hadn't published anything, so i assume you are still working on it. i sent them off a proposal in a week later he calls me back. right after he did the happy dance because i was going to burning man. [laughter] a week later he calls back and
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says the richer proposal. with a bit, want to make you an offer right now. so that's how i got my publisher. i can imagine it's a repeatable process, but it works for me. [inaudible] >> actually my next book will be titled divorce if i attempt one. [laughter] >> other questions? [inaudible] >> do you think he'll write another book quite >> the best way is that a previous reading somebody asked me at the end, what else can be few in the same way? is there something you really fascinated by? there is a positive then rachel said, no. [laughter] conceivable i could write another book. the problem is time. so they could figure a way to
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write a boat could be part-time it didn't effect by having a responsible normal job or if i could figure a way of writing a book i'd be happy with the appeal to it out in a year as opposed to five years, that would be something i'd consider doing. i like to write, but mostly what i lacus research. other questions? [inaudible] >> i'm in india because rachel's job took a very nice finishing up the boat and i can finish them pretty much anywhere. she is there with ibm and we are there to your excitement. we'll be back in october is the current plan. i did actually when i got there, i immediately tried to find the indian phone company because i thought maybe these guys had such a quick and that would be
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cool to see. i wrote to them and ended up talking to a higher guy. he's like all the mechanical stuff is long gone. we don't have it anymore. he's an interesting guy. he's a little bit bitter. he retired from the phone company. the phone companies equivalent at at&t is dsl. i said giovanni sam? i got back an e-mail that said there's no sense of service, much less a sense of history. [laughter] said he maintains they do not have any see them either. [inaudible] >> how did this change my relationship with my modern sound? it didn't directly in the sense that they still blow caused the same way. i did use a rotary phone a few weeks ago and it's slow. i don't know how we ever dealt with that. the thing it did do was made me
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realize how much work went into getting the phone system we have, that we had then, that we have today. an incredible amount of work. it's also interesting that i listen now to a whole bunch of old tape recordings of telephone calls in the 1960s. you hit send on your phone and were used to call going through but then a second or so. back then and maybe 15, 20 or longer think any of your clicks and calling some circus are noisy. the calls had more character then. in contrast today -- what -- the call dropped. we have that. [inaudible] [laughter] >> i've had for anything. so i appreciate both the modern conveniences and also build on the qualities of the old network. >> put together a breakouts if
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they broke up at&t before they put together -- >> say it again. >> they put together this entire system if the phone companies have been small and fragmented before the at&t process. >> that's a good question. i don't really know. i would say the internet is an answer to that. not one company at this point as the internet and especially during its development. if the interoperability standards managed to make it work. so there's an existence proof to doing it that way. at&t certainly was pretty monolithic and did things in the soviet central planning dido, but it worked. [inaudible] >> absolutely. didn't always work, but eventually they got kinks ironed out. other questions?
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already, thank you very much for coming. i'll be doing signing at pier and then afterwards burgers and. [applause] >> the british navy had a large impact on the war of 1812. all in alexandria, virginia at the hope of our local cable partner comcast, we sat down with them for brunsman to discuss his book, "the evil necessity- british naval impressment in the eighteenth century atlantic world." it's next here on booktv. >> the british empire in the 18th century was really a maritime empire.
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as an island nation they depended heavily on trade in controlling the trade of various colonial territories. for this to work you needed a powerful navy in the navy needed men. the british naval ships really sailed the world, but were especially concentrated in the atlantic. this is how the system effect that american colonists. the british naval vessels came into various pores, they often lost men because of death, disease and assertion. the only way they could resupply ships was to capture columnists. so in that way, america was introduced to it i kind of think of is the nasty underside of this british system that in many ways they benefited from and appreciated, but they got some hands i was really involved and
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obligations have been a british subject. the issue of impressment was important for the american economy sin is always one of the most unpopular parts of belonging to the empire. one thing we forget us americans today is the american colonists led to be part of the british empire overall, although they do this seven years war in 1763. in that sense, the american revolution was somewhat of an operation. there were various issues that emerged early on and when this impressment. during the american revolutionary era, which was incredibly unpopular in the 1760s and 70s cities to american independence committee appears in the declaration of independence is one of the grievances against george the third. the problem continued during the revolutionary war. various vessels captured by the
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british. sailors who use easily given a choice. they could join the vessel or go to prisons in england. some ended up serving british naval ships. the american revolution ended in 1783. a decade later the british were in a new war with france. the french revolutionary and is up holding wars. those were his last in 1793 to 1815 and the british navy needed more men than ever before. and the final years of needed about 140,000 sailors, so it really couldn't spare anyone. one of the practices was to ships at sea from other countries and check to see if any british sailors were on board because it was illegal and the british system to serve for another country.
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one place a british sailor would love to hide from the press gave would-be american merchant ships. so when the british stopped americans merchant ships on the high seas, this is a violation of america's sovereignty and various american administration starting with george washington, continued as john adams, thomas jefferson and am ultimately james madison all rejected this is a violation of american sovereign rights. the way that impress network is the british navy essentially needed more sailors that were available at the time. sailors in the british empire worked on merchant ships and naval ships and this was fine in peace, but in times of war, there is essentially more need than supply. but the british navy did enforceable description system
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that was actually legal to buy what they apprehend man and put them on ships because the american colonies were members of the british empire, that meant american sailors could be impressed. once the sailor was impressed on a ship, he was essentially on the vessel until the particular were ended, so he died or escaped. those were the only three ways out of the situation. impressment was often compared to slavery in its own time. the systems were different, but they had some similarities. when a sailor was impressed, we have some first-hand accounts they often lakin themselves to enslaved africans. the really important differences were slavery was per minute, hereditary and that is passed down to generations. of course there was few if any
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benefits. impressment only lasted for the duration of a particular war and then sailors went free. there is still paid a wage by the british navy and i think the single most important way to tell the difference between the systems is we have amazing records of some enslaved africans who wanted to be impressed. that means they sought freedom in the british navy. that clearly shows the impressment provided a certain amount of freedom that wasn't available after slavery. indentured servants in colonial america also works under a certain term of service. the way the servitude were was a labor in england that didn't have really great prospects to come to america and essentially the cost of the voyage the unpledged to work for a certain
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number of years, usually 47 years. at the end of the adventure, a person was free and paid dearly would get some benefits. so when my book, i compare prices to indentured servitude to slavery. we often think of the 18th century is the leech of enlightenment and liberty in its list of things, but it was also the era of servitude. more people cross the atlantic ocean to come to the western hemisphere under some condition of unfreedom donated freedom. we don't have exact figures about the number of men who impressed and that's because the navy didn't keep track. whenever a person entered a ship, the person's name is written down, but circumstances were clear. our best estimates for the number of men impressed by
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somewhere between half and two thirds for any given war. using those numbers we can safely say a quarter of a million men were impressed during the 18th century. that makes it the second most common form of forced labor, for service after slavery. a great quote by a british admiral in the 18th century said they're all volunteers and they find out they can't get away. but that he meant when a sailor was captured by a price gain, he was offered a bounty of the ticket. if he took it, he was automatically a volunteer. the one problem in taking the bounty is that sailor had no lack of recourse to get out of the navy. there were certain ways, certain legal means a sailor could
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escape if he was in a sailor. that was the quickest way because legally the navy could only impress seamen. if a person could show they had some other occupation they were impressed, then they could get out. one way this happened was through family unsure. this institution affected a lot of people. a bigger cross-section than the men who were captured. so why is the mothers of autistic petition the admiral to get the men out. the other thing is they could file for writ of habeas corpus. this basically meant they were captured illegally. at that point the navy would have to show the course this person actually was a sailor and that he belonged in the navy. there is always a certain amount of controversy about price gain and whether they were on the up
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and up, whether they acted properly. they were certainly susceptible to bribes. then got out of service that way and so there was a lot of legends about price gain from recruiting in english lawyer. one of my favorites is you should always be careful when you're sipping your ale and a tavern because some recruiter could always have put a showing inside of your class. if you accepted that schilling, just like the bounty, you essentially were saying you were volunteering for service. you wouldn't want to drink bad. that's one reason that to this day pint glasses and a lennar class so you can see what you're drinking. there's some amazing moments in the atlantic world involving impressment one takes place in november 1747 when a small british fleet under charles
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morris was failing from canada to the caribbean and they stop over in boston. knowles breaks so many british commanders needed man. so he did with the british do. it took about 50 men from the boston area and put them on royal navy vessels. this caused boston's to explode in protest because knowles violated unwritten rules about impressed that in massachusetts at the time. the british navy was not to take massachusetts sailors. men that were born in the column. so the crowds wrote up, captured officers, so in a sense they turned around and impress the navy officers, held them hostage and took over the town for three days.
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the governor of massachusetts, william surely flared. he went to one of the islands in boston harbor. the only thing the end of the whole commotion was knowles threatened to fire the town if they didn't his officers. at the time as a young sam adams have witnessed all of this. he recently completed his masters thesis at harvard, which is about when it was legitimate to oppose civil government. he decided this was one of those times. the riot against knowles and the british navy was justified. so it out to be a wellspring of ideas that would play out in the american revolution. an amazing moment to have been in the early 17 before it the resolution but during time of tension between the american thlonies in great britain.

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